As the snow begins to fall for this winter, some people are packing up their bicycles and digging out their bus passes, while others are bundling up and seeing the snow as a whole new adventure.
Jed Breinholt, a Weber State University student and volunteer at the Ogden Bicycle Collective, said the benefits of biking are year-round.
“Just like you can camp in the winter,” Breinholt said, “you can bike in the winter.”
Josh Jones, the founder of the Ogden Bicycle Collective, said people make it seem hard, but that once they get peddling, it’s simply an adventure.
The Ogden Bicycle Collective is a nonprofit bike shop where people can bring their bikes to work on them. All of the tools and bike parts are donated to the collective for others to use to fix up their broken or unworkable bikes.
“Everybody here is super helpful,” Breinholt said. “I mean, we’re all volunteers here. We’re not out to sell you anything. The main focus of the Bike Collective is getting as many people on bikes as possible.”
Breinholt became involved with biking and volunteering at the Bicycle Collective because he was looking for an easier way to get to work, but, as a WSU student, he said he has also seen the benefits of biking to campus.
“When you can park your bike next to any building on campus,” he said, “and walk your bike up, and you don’t have to look for a parking spot, it makes it super nice.”
Jones said the Ogden Bicycle Collective has been around for about four and half years.
“When I started this place, I knew virtually nothing about mechanics,” Jones said. “And the first day I was sitting in that back room, this entire building was empty, and I had one bicycle and a folding chair. And that’s where it started.”
Since then, the Ogden Bicycle Collective has continued to grow. Jones said that on a good, sunny day, the shop can be packed with upward of 30 people waiting around to work at a stand and swapping bike parts out front.
“I started it,” Jones said, “but these guys are the ones who built it.”
Jones said the top two reasons people don’t bike more is because they don’t have bikes, or they are scared because of all the traffic — problems the collective hopes to answer by providing people with education and a place to get a bike. Jones said the volunteers hope to get more people out on bikes using their Earn a Bike program.
“Anybody can earn a bike here,” he said. “Basically, the rule is that you spend about three nights with us, which ends up being around 15 hours of time, and you completely earn a bike, and you get it for free. You can either pay for the frame and all the parts, or you can come in and volunteer time.”
Breinholt stressed that the bike collective is not like other bike shops.
“We’re not going to do everything for you,” he said. “We’re going to teach you how to do it.”
The collective also the Trips For Kids program.
“Basically, the idea is — we take them (children) out on rides, and there’s no other reason but to have fun,” Jones said.
Jones said that’s not the only time children are in the shop. There are also a lot of fathers who bring in their children to do build-a-bike projects together.
For Rodrigo Ahumada, the collective has given him a space to fulfill his hobbies. Ahumada, who works at Quality Bicycle Products, a company that donates often to the collective, has volunteered for two years.
“The more education, the better,” said Ahumada about working at the collective. “Getting familiar with all the different components and styles of bikes, all that stuff — it’s just fun to me.”
Breinholt said he sees the collective being a good way to help make Ogden become more of a biking community, an opinion echoed by most of the volunteers at the collective.
“I think it’s fantastic to bring more awareness to cycling to Ogden,” Ahumada said. “I’d love to see more pathways in Ogden.”
Jones said he is excited about the way things are going in the bicycle community of Ogden.
“We believe that cycling is kind of the cornerstone of a safer, healthier society,” Jones said, “and we want to make sure that happens.”
Jones said he even saw some benefits in biking last year when a tree blew over and blocked the road, stopping several cars. He said he just picked up his bike, stepped over the tree and kept biking.
“Absolutely, you can ride all four seasons,” Ahumada said. “It’s just a matter of being prepared.”
The volunteers at Ogden’s Bicycle Collective said they have the tools to keep bikes up and running on the road, even in the snow.